Unilever to Up Stake in India Division

The company is banking on growth in emerging markets.

LONDON ­— Unilever PLC, parent of brands including Vaseline, Dove and Lux, said Tuesday it plans to increase its share in Hindustan Unilever, a publicly traded company, to up to 75 percent from the current 52.48 percent.


Unilever will pay 600 rupees, or $11.08, per share for its increased stake in the Indian division of the company. The potential total value of the transaction at the offer price is approximately 292.2 billion rupees, or $5.39 billion.


All dollar figures have been converted at current exchange.


“This represents a further step in Unilever’s strategy to invest in emerging markets, and offers a liquidity opportunity at what we believe to be an attractive premium for existing shareholders,” said Unilever’s chief executive Paul Polman. “The long heritage and great brands of Hindustan Unilever, and the significant growth potential of a country with 1.3 billion people, makes India a strategic long-term priority for the business.”


Unilever said the offer, payable in cash, represents a premium of approximately 29.5 percent over the mandatory floor price required under Indian regulations, a premium of 26 percent to Hindustan Unilever’s last one month’s average trading share price and 25 percent to the last one week’s average trading price on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd.


As reported, in Unilever’s first three months emerging markets delivered double-digit gains for the eighth successive quarter and represented more than 57 percent of the company’s sales. Meanwhile, growth in developed markets remained sluggish.